There was a period, during the first UK lockdown in 2020, where myself and a few friends – even some that don’t normally indulge in games – played little else besides Golf With Your Friends. It’s a 12-player crazy golf game that dials up the crazy, and as we soon found back in those pre-vaccine days, one that reaches a whole other level of club-and-ball chaos with a single settings tweak.
See, with ball collision switched off, Golf With Your Friends is pretty fun. The courses are oversized and fantastical, and because everyone’s balls are in play at the same time, you get all the light-hearted competition of a real putting contest without waiting for the person in front to take their turn. All fine and dandy. Turn ball collision on, however, and it becomes outright pandemonium.
Instead of opposing balls ghosting harmlessly through one another, they begin clattering about from the first stroke. Carefully aimed shots are whacked wildly off-course. Narrow bridges over water hazards become lethal chokepoints. Balls teetering on the brink of a hole-in-one are cruelly slammed away at the last moment, either on purpose or – in a way, worse – by someone else’s random bounce. Congrats, whomever is in charge of the game settings, you’ve turned your pleasant golf game into an ill-tempered battle of sporting chicanery.
In other words, you’ve made it more interesting. Just like in that other lockdown classic, Among Us, screwing someone over to snatch a victory is all the sweeter when you know the victim, and you can hear their affronted yelps over Discord. And I don’t want to hear a single word of "It’s just a game". Look deep inside yourself. You know it’s true.
Admittedly, you do need a few friends online to make it work. Against online randos, with whom there’s no implicit consent for tomfoolery, snookering their ball does just feel mean, and the lack of repeat games against the same opponents kills the chances of juicy rivalries forming. If you can get a few like-minded folks on board, though, Golf With Your Friends can be a blast. Just make sure that you know them well enough for that friendship to, uh, survive.